I’ve never reviewed a whole album before, but I felt like it was warranted in this case. Unless you want to hear about Taylor Swift for the rest of the year, each and every Monday. No? Didn’t think so (as much as I love her, I like to have some variety in my music!).
First, I will say that this album does not beat Red, for me. Red was where Taylor and I parted ways. It was right after Red that I met H. When I listen to Red, I can remember feeling those things as Taylor was feeling them. This album is different. I’m going to marry H. Taylor hasn’t dated anyone since she and Harry Styles broke up almost two years ago (more on him later). Our paths diverged. But the album is still great. I just can’t relate to the lyrics like I used to be able to.
Also, I should note that, while I call Taylor by her first name, we aren’t actual friends. I just wish we were.
- Welcome to New York—Have you ever moved to a new city, completely terrified, but loving every minute of it? I have. And that’s what this song is. It’s moving to a new city. It’s moving to The City, if you know what I mean. New York, for Taylor, appears to have been a new beginning. It was where she switched genres, for instance. It was where she finally embraced single life (rather than dating all kinds of celebrities who were so wrong for her). “Welcome to New York” is also welcoming in a new era. I dig it.
- Blank Space—FAVORITE SONG ON THE ALBUM. It is equal parts snarky and self-deprecating, which is genius. It actually kind of makes me wish I was single again. It sounds like fun.
- Style—I can already hear the speculations on this one… is it about Harry Styles??? Take a look at the title, ladies and gentlemen. Of course, it is. Taylor has always used the words in her titles and lyrics to make points. And trust me, this song makes a point. I love it. I can close my eyes and picture exactly what she is describing. She nails it on this one.
- Out of the Woods—Ah. This was the second song she released in the weeks leading up to the album release, and it struck a chord with me from the beginning. There was a time in my life where I was in a relationship that I tried to keep secret. It was a turbulent time—I was newly broken up with my ex, and this new guy had been the reason for the breakup, even though I was trying to hide that fact from said ex. But the new relationship never worked. Why? Timing was a huge factor, but I think it was also one of those things where we were both trying to be what the other needed, and the relationship never got comfortable. We never made it out of the woods. Taylor embodies that in a way I never could have. She rocks, basically.
- All You Had to Do Was Stay—Just before the release of the album, Taylor said there were no bashing songs on this one. I beg to differ, and I point to this one. This is a blame-game song. But I get it, especially if she wrote it shortly after the break up. It’s easy to feel like it’s entirely the other person’s fault when they end something good. All they had to do was stay, right? I’ve been on both sides of this. It’s hard. Another song that hits home, for me.
- Shake It Off—see my review from September 1.
- I Wish You Would—Yet another that I can relate to. When you know you played a part in the destruction of a relationship, and you’re not mad anymore, you just want that person to come back into your life. Again, it’s hard. But I’ve been there, too. This is another one of my favorites from the album.
- Bad Blood—I’ve been trying to craft what I was going to say about this song since the first time I heard it. Supposedly, it’s about Katy Perry. I’m not sure what happened there (I did read that Katy Perry stole backup dancers from Taylor when she was mid-tour, and they both dated John Mayer), but it sounds intense. And I LOVE IT. I love that it’s about a girl fight. Girls are tricky. Girls are mean. Girls really do stab you in the back and then act like it’s fine when it’s not. Again, I’ve been there. I know that feeling. That is an ongoing thing in my life right now. And I’m dealing with it the best I can, because what else can I do? You know? Friends don’t always stay as close as they once were. It happens. Relationships change and blood goes bad. And you deal. But Taylor—she is perfect. She wrote exactly what is real.
- Wildest Dreams—I know that a lot of people like this one, but it doesn’t jive with me. I don’t like how it sounds. So, if you’re loving this track, you should maybe find another reviewer to talk about it with, haha.
- How You Get the Girl—This one cracks me up. Probably because I read an interview with her where she said that it was basically blueprints on how to get back a girl that you lost. And she said that you’ll either get the girl back, or you’ll get a restraining order. Which I can’t not think about every time I listen to the song.
- This Love—Haim is a fan of this song, according to their Twitter. I didn’t like it at first, but it has grown on me. It’s the slowest song on the album, which makes it hard to jam to. I do like it a lot. I love the line “this love is a life back from the dead.” Everyone knows that feeling. When someone you thought was lost comes back into your life. It doesn’t have to be romantic love, although it often is. Like I said, it’s grown on me.
- I Know Places—Again… I just don’t like this song. There are some good lines, but I can’t relate to it, and I think some of the comparisons are weird.
- Clean—This song took me by surprise. It’s the last song on the album, which, in my experience, means it’s not an artist’s strongest track. But this one is… it’s an ocean washing over you when you just need to feel salt in your face. It’s a hot shower after a cold winter rain. It’s wonderful. It perfectly describes the moment when you know you’re over someone. And I love that. I love it.
It’s a strong album, definitely. But by Taylor Swift standards, it’s not her best work. But I’m a lyrical person. I like words. The music is definitely fun and upbeat and I like that, but the lyrics are lacking compared to past albums.
Of course, it should be known that this is only my opinion.
What did y’all think of this album? Good? Bad? How did you feel about her genre switch?